British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has partnered with UK and South African medical research councils (MRC) to carry out research on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa.
The £5m collaboration was part of GSK’s Africa NCD Open Lab initiative.
Through the UK Newton Fund, the UK MRC will provide £2.5m for research, while South African Medical Research Council will offer £1.5m, and an additional £1m will be provided by GSK to support projects within South Africa.
GSK is also planning to provide further £4m for NCD research in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to the funding provided for South African research proposals.
GSK pharmaceutical R&D president Patrick Vallance said: "The funding announced today is a great endorsement of GSK’s open research philosophy, and signifies growing agreement among the scientific community that collaboration is key to defeating some of the world’s biggest health problems.
"We believe that by providing support to African institutions as they carry out their own research in to the chronic disease variants that most affect the African people, the NCD Open Lab will play a key role in helping to tackle disease in this area."
An official call for proposals for the interested researchers from South Africa and wider sub-Saharan Africa will be launched by the end of the year, in order to begin research in the second quarter of 2015.
Earlier this year, GSK launched Africa NCD Open Lab, as part of its strategic investments in sub-Saharan Africa.
By collaborating with researchers across Africa, the lab will be used to develop treatments for non-communicable diseases such cancer and diabetes, which are more prevalent in African countries.
In 2010, GSK launched Open Lab at Tres Cantos in Spain to carry research on projects related diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and leishmaniasis.